emailSNYCU Episode 111 - December 4, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we discuss the recent tweets regarding the early November algorithm update, our thoughts on neural matching, interesting Google announcements including a new GSC feature and Alphabet CEO and as always great finds to help you optimize your site.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • What is neural matching?
  • Google can ignore links from sites where they know the link is unlikely to be natural
  • Meta descriptions are evolving; always be testing!
  • Google is showing search tips for searches where there are no results
  • The consequences of incorrect implementation of lazy-loading
  • Tip for crafting effective header tags
  • Tips for checking if your robots are actually blocked
  • Good SEO can’t fix a bad website
  • Advice from John on pages returning errors
  • Implementing and validating your structured data
  • Handling permanently deleted content -- 410 vs 404
  • Follow up to the syndicated content/canonical talk
  • How to check the CPU since Google’s recent limitation of CPU consumption
  • A URL is available in the sitemap but is not in the index, what does this mean?
  • How to handle negative reviews from a non-customer
  • A preview of Cameos from Google
  • Do you have these Structured Data Chrome extensions?
  • New content optimization tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Was there an update this week?

Many of the sites that we monitor are seeing significant changes in traffic patterns over the last week. However, given that the US has just been through Black Friday, this is likely normal seasonality. 

We will keep an eye on the sites that saw changes and report back next week on whether we think these are due to a Google algorithm shift or not. Our current thought is that there was no significant update in the last week.

Keep in mind that many sites will see changes in rankings as well as traffic at this time of the year. We have historically seen that Google’s algorithms change close to Christmas time, often to prefer big giants such as Amazon or Walmart for transactional queries. 


Info from Google on “Bedlam”, the Local update that started November 4, 2019

As we have mentioned in our last few newsletters, early November was a very challenging time for those of us who are interested in determining whether Google has run a significant algorithm update. We appear to have at least two significant but separate updates. On November 4, we started to see big changes in local (maps) rankings. On November 8, many sites saw significant drops in organic rankings. 

This week, Danny Sullivan gave us some very interesting information on what changed in the local update. While the search community called this update “Bedlam” (coined by Joy Hawkins), Google internally calls it the November 2019 Local Search Update.

Danny Sullivan has told us now that this update came about as a result of Google implementing something called “neural matching”. 


MHC Announcements

You’ll want to follow our WixSEOLovers account…

If you’re not already following us on Twitter, you will want to soon. December 19th marks the end of our Wix SEO competition but we don’t want to leave you hanging! Therefore, our Twitter account will be switched over and become our official MHC account. That’s right, all the MHC news you could want just a click away! 


Google Announcements

Sundhar Pichai is now CEO of both Alphabet and Google 

This is a big announcement concerning the future of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have relinquished their titles and announced that Google CEO Sundhar Pichai will now be the CEO of both companies. Both founders will remain employees and continue to sit on the board, but have decided to step back from management. Pichai has always been recognized as the public face so to many this wasn’t a big surprise. The two wrote about Pichai saying; “He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets.” 


New Messages Interface in GSC 

As of today there is a new interface in Google Search Console where you will now be able to see new and past notifications/messages. For old messages, you will be able to see those from May 23 onward, but can still access older messages in the legacy tools and reports tab in the old search console. Seeing old messages will hopefully help new owners understand the context of notifications and the history of the site easier. 

You can access the messages panel by clicking the bell icon at the top of any page in SC. A great perk is that you won’t have to leave your report to access the messages, making your process that much more efficient. Additionally, messages will be categorized into the following areas: Coverage, Enhancement types, Performance, and more. 


Google SERP Changes

Google introduces mortgage calculators to the SERPs

This could spell trouble for those websites who currently occupy this space! It doesn’t appear that it’s made its way to Canada just yet, but we anticipate it’ll likely come sometime soon.


SEO Tips

Old GSC and new GSC say different things re: whether a page is blocked by robots.txt. What’s the deal?

Interesting case of conflicting messages in GSC. John recommends checking the robots.txt tool dropdown with the date to see the old versions. You can always request recrawl for individual URLs if needed. 


BERT is unrelated to indexing

This tweet led to a good point about BERT from John. In summary, someone was having pages de-indexed and getting soft 404 warnings. 

John’s response: BERT does not affect indexing. Indexing issues would not be related to this update. It is a great reminder of what BERT does and does not do. For reminders on what BERT does, refer to our BERT heavy newsletter episode


The first episode of Google Search Console training

This is the first episode featuring Google’s Daniel Waisberg. He discusses the basics of Search Console including how to use it to succeed no matter your job title. 


Other Interesting News

Former Google AdWords employee gets charged for overseas clicks when location targeting the US

Russ Jones spent many years working for Google until only recently deciding to do his own thing. Well, during a recent campaign, his location targeting appeared not to work as seen by the clicks from Turkey and Egypt. As it turns out there are a few advanced location settings that you should be aware of and it may be wise to review these to ensure they align with your intended regions.


SEO Tools

Hack for switching colour values in Chrome

Here’s a neat little trick for those of you looking for a quick change! 


New tool from Backlinko 

The tool is called Exploding Topics and is a topic aggregator showing what is becoming popular based on searches. This is great for content writing or if want to capitalize on upcoming trends. Did we mention it’s free? 


Recommended Reading

How Google Knows Good Content From Bad Content – Mordy Oberstein
https://www.rankranger.com/blog/how-google-understands-content
Nov 27, 2019

This article dives into theories and statements about how Google analyzes content and is able to differentiate between good and bad content. If you’re looking for ideas to spruce up your content, or get clarification on what G may see as bad, this may be helpful.  

 

How to Turn Unlinked Brand Mentions Into Links – Brock Murray
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-building-guide/unlinked-brand-mentions/
Nov 26, 2019

Links are still highly valuable when it comes to ranking a website. Unlinked brand mentions can help as well but it’s clear that linked mentions provide much stronger signals. Fortunately, Brock delivers a four-step process (from Research to Follow-up) to help you master earning links from previously unlinked mentions.

 

All About Fraggles (Fragment + Handle) - Whiteboard Friday – Cindy Krum
https://moz.com/blog/fraggles
Nov 29, 2019 

What are Fraggles? If you have been following anything from the wonderful Cindy Krum over the past couple of years you will likely have heard the term before. Well, now we have a fantastic Whiteboard Friday from Cindy herself explaining exactly what a Fraggle is based on her MozCon 2019 talk.  

 

User-Specific Knowledge Graphs to Support Queries and Predictions – Bill Slawski
http://www.seobythesea.com/2019/11/user-specific-knowledge-graphs/
Nov 25, 2019

This week in Google Patent News with Bill Slawski, Bill walks us through a recently granted patent regarding how Google could be supporting querying and predictions by using ‘user-specific knowledge graphs’. 

 

If You Haven’t Optimized Your Website for Voice Search Yet, You’re OK – Juan Gonzalez
https://www.sistrix.com/blog/if-you-havent-optimized-your-website-for-voice-search-yet-youre-ok
Nov 26, 2019

You’ll often hear folks talking about optimizing for Voice Search. Juan Gonzalez, in this article, explains why he thinks it’s still a little too soon to be optimizing your site for voice. There is a lot of misinformation out in the community and statistics that do not seem to be sourced correctly. Juan goes into much detail about this in his article for Sistrix. 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Simple Spam Fighting: The Easiest Local Rankings You’ll Ever Earn – Miriam Ellis
https://moz.com/blog/simple-spam-fighting
Dec 2, 2019

Follow this five-step process if you want to take action on fake and duplicate listings and give yourself or your clients a more competitive stance in local! For some sites, this may allow you to move away from Google’s local finder mayhem and push you into the more desirable local pack.


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • What is neural matching?
  • Google can ignore links from sites where they know the link is unlikely to be natural
  • Meta descriptions are evolving; always be testing!
  • Google is showing search tips for searches where there are no results
  • The consequences of incorrect implementation of lazy-loading
  • Tip for crafting effective header tags
  • Tips for checking if your robots are actually blocked
  • Good SEO can’t fix a bad website
  • Advice from John on pages returning errors
  • Implementing and validating your structured data
  • Handling permanently deleted content -- 410 vs 404
  • Follow up to the syndicated content/canonical talk
  • How to check the CPU since Google’s recent limitation of CPU consumption
  • A URL is available in the sitemap but is not in the index, what does this mean?
  • How to handle negative reviews from a non-customer
  • A preview of Cameos from Google
  • Do you have these Structured Data Chrome extensions?
  • New content optimization tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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Paul Macnamara - Offers SEO Consulting at PaulMacnamara.com


That's it for this episode! Stay tuned for our Youtube video (my channel is here). If you want to follow me on Facebook, here is my page.


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